LTA’s time for Talk­ing is over, It’s now time For ac­tion

Fiji Sun - - Comment - NE­MANI DE­LAIBATIKI Feed­back: ne­mani.de­laibatiki@fi­jisun.com.fj

The Land Trans­port Au­thor­ity has be­gun its crack­down to flush out dis­hon­est of­fi­cers in­volved in the al­leged driv­ing li­cence scan­dal. This is not the first time this is­sue has been raised pub­licly and it won’t be the last un­less this new in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­moves those re­spon­si­ble and puts in place sys­tems and pro­cesses that would make it im­pos­si­ble to en­gage in cor­rupt prac­tices. The new struc­tures would have mea­sur­ers for early de­tec­tion of any un­law­ful ac­tiv­ity and early in­ter­ven­tion.

This will firmly shut the door to out­siders in­clud­ing driv­ing school in­struc­tors who will at­tempt to in­fil­trate the sys­tem. The key lies with those of­fi­cers man­ning the LTA sta­tions. If they say no to peo­ple try­ing to bribe them to is­sue a li­cence with­out go­ing through the proper tests that’s the end of the mat­ter. They should then report those peo­ple to FICAC. The pub­lic per­cep­tion about the LTA is not good. It is widely ru­moured that driv­ing li­cences are al­legedly be­ing given out us­ing cor­rupt means. This was con­firmed when the Fiji Sun con­ducted a sur­vey which ex­posed what ap­peared to be a well en­trenched sys­tem of al­leged cor­rupt deal­ings to ob­tain driv­ing li­cence. There are many al­le­ga­tions out there against the LTA. While they re­main al­le­ga­tions un­til proven, they in­di­cate that a prob­lem ex­ists that needs to be looked at ur­gently. Mem­bers of the pub­lic are en­cour­aged to report com­plaints to the LTA. If they don’t have any faith in the LTA, then they should report to ei­ther the Po­lice or the Min­istry of Trans­port so that their griev­ances can be dealt with promptly. Peo­ple who have com­plaints and have re­ported al­le­ga­tions to this news­pa­per have been ad­vised to lodge them with the rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties. The ball is now in LTA’s court to act and re­store pub­lic con­fi­dence in its ser­vice. It’s chair­man, Vi­jay Ma­haraj, is al­ready on to it and is call­ing for the list of all driv­ing schools and their in­struc­tors.

In ad­di­tion, all LTA of­fi­cers deal­ing with these driv­ing schools need to be in­ter­ro­gated as part of the rou­tine in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Proper doc­u­men­ta­tion should be in place to record ev­ery trans­ac­tion and ac­tiv­ity made be­fore the is­sue of a li­cence. It should be manda­tory that all tests should be con­ducted by more than one ex­am­iner su­per­vised by a se­nior of­fi­cer to en­sure no short­cuts and no cor­rupt ac­tiv­i­ties.

Im­me­di­ately, the LTA should re­view all li­cences is­sued in the last six months, es­pe­cially those gen­er­ated from driv­ing schools. This might re­quire hold­ing ran­dom driv­ing tests (Road Code and prac­ti­cal) for li­cence hold­ers. This may sound ex­treme but it is one way of find­ing out whether the li­cence hold­ers un­der­went le­git­i­mate and proper tests and passed. We should all be wor­ried be­cause we could have many un­qual­i­fied and un­trained driv­ers on our roads who have not read or even be­ing tested about the Road Code. They might have gone through the tests, failed but still went ahead and got their li­cence.

Does this make us won­der why we con­tinue to see road ac­ci­dents hap­pen­ing at an alarm­ing rate? It tells us that the stan­dard of driv­ing is ap­palling and this could be linked to this al­leged scam. We now have an op­por­tu­nity to set­tle this once and for all. We have talked a lot about it in the past. Now, it is time for ac­tion.

It doesn’t mean they have lost they are not part of our pro­gramme, they still are. Ben Ryan Team Fiji 7s head coach

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